Anyone hitting refresh for the next 7 months? That's my plan atm.
I did the daily checks until July last year and got into the JW. I am not sure I can do it this year. May try Origins and skip a year
Leaving people with no option except to endlessly refresh and hope to get lucky is horrible customer care.
They've actually made it worse than in past years, when you could get onto a waiting list and have a reasonable hope of getting things resolved.
Now, they have a backwards system where you have to get the highest demand rooms booked, so you can get on a wait list for the LOW demand rooms. Here's a headline: You don't need a wait list for things NOT in high demand--you simply just book them.
Year after year the housing is a problem, and GenCon is making no apparent effort to address the issue or assist their customers in any way.
We stayed at that Sleep Inn last year, biked in for two days and then the hotel provided their own shuttle over the weekend. Parking was free. They have a few tables for gaming in their breakfast area, and the rooms were nice.
For one, requiring a 3 night minimum with Saturday being one of those days was the best. In the past you would find many rooms Fridays being sold out and all other nights free.
While I understand why they went to a random entry time to help lessen the load on the housing server. I don't necessarily agree with the way it was iimplemented. I think there should be some type of checking for certain things, like number of years attended, where your place in the queue was last year, ect...
And while we had 8 people in our group trying for 2 downtown rooms, we were only able to get 1. We got a second room at the airport and the people staying there will drive in. We certainly won't let it ruin Gen Con for us.
The only issue that Gen Con is addressing is how to not have to upgrade their computers to handle the growth.
That at seems to be the only explanation to why they are doing the housing this way. They post about resord growth but don't seem to want to upgrade to go along with it.
And while we had 8 people in our group trying for 2 downtown rooms...
Which further proves there's no completely fair system and realistically never can be; you get 8 "tickets" in the lottery where I going solo would get one. Fortunately, out-of-block to the rescue :)
If it makes you guys feel better I had a full weekend stay booked and reserved at the attached westin but the gencon housing system deleted my reservation about an hour after I made it, (9 minutes after noon when my lottery opened) deleted my token so I can no longer make ANY reservations, and then the housing customer service told me it was a GLITCH in gencon's system, but gencon's customer service told me it's my fault because... and this part is rediculous... it's my fault because THEY didn't email me a receipt.
Depending on the year, I've done Gencon on the cheap, the last minute, and some with more conventional planning.
I've always been able to score a downtown room when desired, provided that I was persistant and allowed for at least one measure of flexibility. I've stayed downtown seven out of nine years. Last year was the first (and only) year I got block. Those other two years out of downtown were when Carribien Cove (outlier with the indoor water park) used to have 2nd night free special in August. That deal was too good to pass up.
I'll share what tips I can, which have led to many successful bookings out of block.
*Poke around the Gencon forums at least once a day.
*Try official hotel websites several times a day. Sometimes they have rooms when the mega booking sites do not.
*Try multiple mega booking sites several times a day. Sometimes they have rooms when official hotel websites do not.
*Consider becoming someone's roomate. I personally enjoyed my experiences with sharing rooms, but it's not practical when the whole fam wants to Gencon.
*Be willing to pay a premium. See persistancy above. Considering finding a roomate to alleviate out of block cost.
*Maybe be willing to switch hotels midcon. You might be able to snipe odd nights here or there, and combine with nights in the outliers if neccessary. In some of the lean years I would snipe a Friday or Saturday night from a booking site, but spend the other nights in outliers.
Some years it was down to the wire, but downtown options willl continually pop up, right up until the last day.
Happy room hunting.
There is no waitlist for room reservations; the only "wait list" feature is for adding shoulder nights to an existing hotel reservation. If you want to check for another resrevation, you can click "modify" without losing your reservation.
Three years an running on getting f'ed on getting a room downtown. This time there were six of us trying to book a room and not one of us had a time slot before a 1 1/2 for the portal. Real random. Capitalism is one thing, but the out right egregious greed is shocking. More than twice the normal rate markup from the entire downtown Indy hotel group sucks. Adkison, if you want to stand up for something, stand up for all those who can't afford to partake because of this.
Hello, long-term lurker here, first time poster, so apologies if similar information has been posted elsewhere.
The TL;DR version of the information below is that AirBnb (a home and room sharing service) can be an alternative (with some caveats) to hitting refresh on the housing portal page for the next several months. This is the second year that my group has used it, so I wanted to share our experience with it, as well as some general things to look out for.
This time last year, our group of 14 was up a creek. Every one of us entered into the lottery, but the best we could do was a single room 2.1 miles away. Most of us had been going to GenCon for years, successfully getting downtown rooms, so this was a wake-up call. Our options were scarce, so I decided to take a chance on AirBnb. When we searched for Indianapolis for that weekend, we were discouraged to see that most units were $500 or more per night. That's because many of the listings were outdated, from when renters took advantage of Super Bowl XLVI in 2012, as one-time deals. (Side note, if you do a search now, you could see a bunch of overpriced listings for the NCAA tournament). So, at first, there really wasn't much left that would work for us. However, I gave it a week or so, and then checked back to see if there were any new listings. Sure enough, I came across a listing that would accommodate us.
Tip 1: Be willing to check back periodically. Unlike hotels, AirBnb has a constant rotation of new listings, especially after the GenCon housing hype dies down. You could also message some of the NCAA listings, and see if the owner would be willing to rent their unit at a lower price for GenCon. AirBnb allows owners the ability to make a special offer.
After some haggling, I was invited to rent an entire loft (two bedrooms, two baths, kitchen and open living space) for approximately $900 a night, five blocks from the ICC. Split between 14 people, it worked out to about $300 per person for Wednesday through Sunday. At the time, there were several other groups competing for this space, but the owners told me that they chose us because we were responsive, communicative and took time to introduce ourselves.
Tip 2: Most of the time, you'll be renting from an individual owner who could very well be living in the space you want to rent. AirBnb is also different in that the owner has to accept your request to reserve their space. When you reach out to them for the first time, be friendly in your communications. Explain why you're coming to Indy, how many folks are in your group, and communicate that you'll respect their space and be model tenants.
Tip 2B: Sometimes, it's unclear whether a reservation is just for a single bedroom, or the entire apartment/house. Make sure you clarify that before booking. And, if you have more people than the listing allows, go ahead and ask the owner. In our case, we were able to fit 14 people in a listing designed for 8.
Tip 2C: The downside to AirBnb is that you have to pay the reservation up front (plus the AirBnb service fee, cleaning fee, and if applicable, a security deposit). As such, you'll want to see how strict the owner's cancellation policy is. Your money will be wired to AirBnb, which will hold it until the reservation is honored.
Because we were fitting in more people than the loft was intended for, I spent the next few months messaging the owners with specific questions. How many keys would they be willing to give us? How many beds/futons/air mattresses could they provide? Were linens included? What was the parking situation? These owners were relatively new to AirBnb, so that put the burden of figuring out these details on us. However, they were very friendly and accommodative, so with some back and forth, we were able to get what we needed.
Tip 3: If you're unsure about the nature of the reservation, be sure to ask. If an owner hasn't been reviewed yet, they're likely new to the process and might miss details that you'd otherwise expect from a normal hotel.
Once we hashed out the details of the room, all that was left was to play the waiting game.
Tip 4: While there's likely some penalty for you cancelling the reservation, the owner can drop your reservation without paying any fees. You'd get reimbursed, and you could file a complaint, but this is the other significant downside to AirBnb. I've used it three times and have never had an issue, but it is a possibility.
When all was said and done, AirBnb worked out pretty well for us last year. The benefits of the loft were its close proximity to the ICC, plenty of space, a full kitchen, and free parking. The downsides were that 14 people had to share two keys and two bathrooms, and many of us slept on air mattresses. The thing that kept me up at night was the possibility that the owner could cancel. That said, this year I booked another house (3 bedrooms, 7 blocks from the ICC) for our group of seven through AirBnb (about $200 per person), and I'm hopeful we'll have another good year.
If you're interested in checking out a few listings, here are a few I pulled up:
(Added 1/28) Studio apartment (~1.7 miles away): $300/night: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/6145067
Studio loft (~1.8 miles away): $250/night: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4297030
1 bedroom apartment (~1.7 miles away): $350/night: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/7202439
Pickings are slim right now, undoubtedly because the housing lottery just happened. Most of the others are NCAA listings, but it still could be worth messaging some of them to see if they’d be willing to do a special offer. I also think more availability will open up over the next few weeks, if not few months.
I don't understand people wanting a room downtown due to medical complications. You know you have to walk and stand all through GenCon and can't even go into the Exhibit Hall if you are unable to walk, right? The people trying to use medical reasons as an excuse for needing downtown seem to be taking advantage of the concept of being disabled.
The people discounting such medical reasons seem to be completely oblivious to what it means to actually be disabled in some fashion.
Meanwhile, I consider myself lucky, because I can still walk, even though there's problems. My friend uses a wheelchair and there's some places in the skywalk where there's no way to do it in one of those. It's hard enough to get in and out of public transportaiton and cabs/uber with a cane. It's even harder to be someone with a wheelchair at one of the outer hotels.
I have no idea what you mean with the Exhibit Hall, though. Not only can people go in there with scooters and wheelchairs, I've seen tons of strollers and people pulling luggage/carts. There's some places with chairs (and kind booth exhibitors who let you sit).
Before I got sick, I was jogging 5 miles, 5 times a week and could do a 10 minute mile. I could drive anytime I wanted. I, too, gave no thought to what it would be like to not be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want to. Trust me, there's no "excuse" or taking advantage here. There's just people attempting to go somewhere they enjoy and trying to make it feasible.